(1995)2Derek ArmstrongWhile it hadn't yet sunk into the mire of Batman and Robin, the Batman franchise was well on its way with this third installment, the first directed by Joel Schumacher. After two dark chapters that each explored new territory, arguably improving in quality and thematic juiciness with the feminist slant of Batman Returns, Batman Forever sorely misses the presence of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton, who jumped ship before the ideas dried up. It's much more a platform for Jim Carrey than the adequate but dull Val Kilmer, finally permitting Carrey to sink his teeth into the super-villain he was born to play, in turn granting him license to overact his heart out. But for all of Carrey's undeniable gusto, the performance doesn't come close to making the movie. Whether there should have been more of Tommy Lee Jones' Two Face is debatable, since he's not very interesting, but even with more screen time, he still would have contributed the least of any Batman villain to date. Batman Forever shows the strain of trying to do too much with too little inspiration, and the diminishing returns of scraping the bottom of the barrel for previously unused villains, whose powers are pretty fringe by this point. The film's goofy title, which sounds like an overconfident political slogan, is a hint that Schumacher wanted mindless fun to replace the psychological brooding of Burton's movies. But Batman is better when he's profoundly disturbed, when there's not so much window dressing to distract from his tortured heroism.